Edit 6/5/2017: Thanks to Coach Austin Anderson of Delta State University. They’ve shared their packline drills exclusively with us, we’ve added 5 more pack line drills! Enjoy.
In the pack line defense, it’s critical that players position themselves in the right spots and closeout correctly. Here’s a comprehensive list of drills you can incorporate into your practice if you plan on running the pack line defense.
- 1 on 1 closeouts
- Vegas closeouts
- 2 on 1 positioning
- 1 on 1 wall up
- 3 out 1 in guarded (low post drill)
- 2 on 2 top to wing
- 2 on 2 wing to corner
- 3 on 3 positioning
- 3 on 3 identity
- 4 on 4 stationary change
- 3 on 3 Get back
- 3 on 0 with 1 on 1 inside
- 3 on 3 with 1 on 1 inside
- Defending cross and down screens
1 on 1 closeouts
- Defensive player tosses ball to offensive player in line from above the 3 point line.
- Offensive player gets 2 dribbles max to score.
- Play until defensive player gets a stop and secures the rebound.
- If offense scores, defense stays and plays next player inline.
Focus on proper closeouts.
- 2 High hands
- Elbows bent
- Low stance
- Short/choppy steps
- Stay square
- Yell “SHOT” early
- 3 defensive players start below the basket with a ball each
- Toss the ball to offensive player and closeout
- Practice 3 types of closeouts: short, long and medium distance.
- Rotate after each closeout.
Practice closing out on different types of players.
- Player 1 “Rondo” – can’t shoot. Closeout further away.
- Player 2 “Korver” – pure shooter. Not much of a penetrator. Closeout closer.
- Player 3 “Kobe” – can shoot and penetrate. 1 arm’s length away.
Drill that incorporates closing out, ball pressure, jumping to help position, fronting cutters, and closing out from help position
Closing out from a help position is one of the toughest fundamental to master defensively
- Defender 1 throws ball to first offensive player (1) in line and closes out
- Offensive player 1 can pass to either wing
- Defender must “jump and swipe” to get to appropriate help position
- Offensive player 1 basket cuts
- Defender must use arm bar and “bump cutter” to the logo (below the FT line)
- Wing will pass to next offensive player in line (2), defender must close out again – this time from a help position
- After two or three passes from wing to top to wing back to top, the Coach will yell “LIVE”
- Two players play 1-on-1 off the close out
- Offense has 2-3 dribble max to score
- Defender must get a stop to complete the drill – if offense scores, offense restarts drill
- Make sure defender keeps proper fundamentals during the dummy period of the drill
2 on 1 positioning
- Coach starts with the ball, defender is matched up with 1
- Coach can pass to 1, dribble him out, cut him through, etc. forcing x1 to play on and off the ball
- Drill lasts for a prescribed amount of time, no one looks to score – just focus on constant offensive movement
Make sure x1 plays with proper fundamentals throughout the drill:
- Close outs from ball to help & help to ball
- Jump & Swipe
- Bump Cutter
- Protect against baseline & straight line drives
- Intense ball pressure
1 on 1 wall up
Drill works on “walling up” against shot attempts from offensive rebounds. Both hands up, use lower body to push offensive player out.
- Coach will lob ball up off of backboard to offensive player 1
- Offense will offensive rebound the ball, x1 will “wall up” and try to push 1 out of the post box with his hips
- “Show the ref your hands”
- Do not leave your feet!
- 1 does not try to shoot, rather just battle for shooting position inside the post box
- After a few pivots, 1 will pass the ball back to Coach who will then repeat the drill on the opposite side with player 2
- Run this drill for a prescribed number of reps
- Optional conclusion to drill: x1 has to finish drill by taking a charge from either 1 or 2 lowering their shoulder
So many offensive players will throw up bad lay-up attempts either because their feet aren’t set, or because their positioning is poor in relation to the basket
3 out 1 in guarded
In the pack line system, you want to keep the ball outside of the post box area and deny the pass from the top at all costs. This drill focuses on ball denial in the low post.
- Drill begins with ball on the wing
- Offensive post tries to get position inside the box, post defender plays 3⁄4 on the high side and uses arm bar to force a catch outside the box
- On a pass from wing to top, post defender plays “on the line, up the line” as offensive post tries to leg whip and seal, post defender can’t play too high and give up lob
- On a pass from the top to opposite wing, the post defender hits offensive post with an arm bar and “peels” to resume 3⁄4 high side positioning outside the post box
2 on 2 top to wing
Proper help positioning and closing out.
- Start with the applying ball pressure (within arm’s length) and the help defender in the gap (already in help position inside pack line area).
- Offensive players pass between each other
- Defense must shift as the ball is being passed.
- Stay in low defensive stance
- Move on the flight of the ball. Not after.
- Apply ball pressure
- Be in help position
2 on 2 wing to corner
Similar to 2 on 2 top to wing but instead wing to corner.
3 on 3 positioning
Positioning, closing out and ball pressure.
- The offensie players pass to each other.
- Defenders must apply ball pressure to the offense with the ball
- Off ball defenders must move into help positions within the pack line on the flight of ball
3 on 3 identity game
Tie in all the concepts of pack line into a small sided game. Focus is to closeout properly and positioning. Being in the help position early and staying within the pack line.
- Coach is under basket and passes ball to one of the three offensive players
- Offense has 20 seconds to score
- Offense can do whatever they want to score. Except ball screens.
- 3 dribble max per touch
- Early season practice: 4-5 possessions for each team
- In-season practice: 2-3 possessions for each team
- 3pt shot = +3
- 2pt shot = +2
- Turnover = -1 for offense
- Foul = -1 for defense (still same possession)
- Off. Rebound = +2
- If ball ever goes inside of post box (not including offensive rebound) = +2 (still same possession)
4 on 4 Stationary drill
Shell drill to start. Pass the ball until coach yells “CHANGE”. Offense drives to basket, on ball defender must let offense pass and guard a new man. New defender MUST stop ball, other 3 must get into paint and communicate to find open man.
3 on 3 Get back drill
- Coach starts by throwing a pass to any of the 3 on the baseline
- Player who catches the ball outlets the ball to the player on the sideline
- Offense tries to score
- Defense must sprint, get to paint and stop the ball
3/0 with 1/1 inside
Ball is passed around the perimeter. May skip the ball. Post defender is working on positioning. Offensive post follows the ball.
Low post defense key points:
- Keep players out of post box
- Use the arm bar to push your man out
- 3/4 high deny when ball is above free throw
- Full deny below free throw
3 on 2 perimeter to post help
3 on 3 with 1 on 1 inside
This drill focuses on choking the post when it gets entered into the post and then turning into a live 4 on 4.
- Start with pass coach to 1. Defense closes out.
- Offense must pass the ball to the wing
- Then wing must pass the ball to low post.
- Defense chokes the post, post throws ball back to wing.
- Go live. 4 on 4.
Defending cross and down screens
This drill is for defending cross and down screens.
- 2 coaches on the wing. 1 player at the top, 2 players in low post.
- Ball goes to coach on wing. Players can cross screen or down screen for each other.
- Once ball is passed to a player, go live.
Focus: Need to talk about how you want to cover your screens. Go over or under.